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#61

###FIGHTING THE SYSTEM

Monday 27 March at 8.30pm

Fighting the System: The mothers and carers battling for justice and protection for their disabled children.

“I brought him into this world, and I love him. I do all I can to help him. I’m 88 soon. I’m still battling.” Jean, mother

On Monday night Four Corners exposes what happens behind closed doors in some taxpayer funded group homes for the disabled and talks to the mothers and carers taking on the system.

“It’s about time for me to tell this.” Maria, mother

These are families who’ve made the tough decision to place their disabled children into care, in the belief it would be the safest place for them. They say their trust has been betrayed.

“I could not sleep knowing my son was in that house… I would park my car at the front of that house … so that if he did need something I’d be there, but the reality is, I couldn’t protect him at that point. I had to get him out.” Anne, mother

This Four Corners investigation shines a light on the mistreatment of these vulnerable people.

“No child deserves to be treated as a dollar figure rather than a human being. They have rights. They deserve respect. We’re entrusted to do what’s right for them. We’re entrusted to advocate for them, and we failed.” Disability worker

These are homes where sexual and physical abuse occurs and perpetrators get away with it, because police and the justice system are unable to cope with the challenges of dealing with witnesses with disabilities.

“The investigating officer said well, ‘We dropped the ball’. I just said, ‘You think?’ They just gave up and said ‘We did. We didn’t do it properly,’ and that was it.” Bev, carer

One industry watchdog expresses his frustration over the failure of the group home operators to end the mistreatment:

“I could give a lengthy explanation but let me put it simply. The practice was unacceptable.” Disability Ombudsman

And despite the billions promised for the National Disability Insurance Scheme and plans for new protections, some warn that families need to stay vigilant.

“Parents should not be trusting service providers and they must do due diligence all the time, because the evidence is that it’s very unsafe and there’s a lot of risk.” Disability Advocate

The mothers and carers who’ve seen their children come to harm are determined to speak out and demand action.

“I’m a fighter. I don’t give up.” Jean

Fighting the System, reported by Linton Besser and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 27th March at 8.30pm EDT. It is replayed on Tuesday 28th March at 10.00am and Wednesday 29th at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners


#62

###PLEASE EXPLAIN

Monday 3 April at 8.30pm

Please Explain: What’s going on inside Pauline Hanson’s One Nation?

“We don’t cheat, we don’t lie, we are upfront with the people.” Pauline Hanson

When Pauline Hanson and her One Nation party stormed back into politics as a major force, it was done on the promise they would be nothing like the “mainstream” political parties they and their supporters loathe.

“We bring a fearlessness. We don’t care what people think…we just speak the facts.” One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts

But on Monday night Four Corners will reveal the brutal backroom politics ripping into Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party.

“If the public knew what went on in the Party I don’t think they’d have anything to do with One Nation” Former candidate

Reporter Caro Meldrum-Hanna investigates the party’s inner workings and explores how former supporters have been left disenchanted, asking for Pauline Hanson to “please explain”.

“A political party is supposed to be transparent, democratic, inclusive and the party at the moment is not any of those things.” Former Party Worker

A must-watch investigation.

Please Explain reported by Caro Meldrum-Hanna and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 3rd April at 8.30pm EDT. It is replayed on Tuesday 4th April at 10.00am and Wednesday 5th at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.


#63

###CRACKING THE CODE

Monday 10 April at 8.30pm

Cracking the Code: What Facebook really knows about you.

“What’s on your mind?”

It’s the friendly Facebook question which lets you share what you’re thinking and what you’ve been up to. It’s also the question that unlocks the details of your life and helps turn your thoughts into Facebook’s profits.

“They are the most successful company arguably in human history at just gathering people’s time and turning that time into money.” Reporter

On Monday night, Four Corners explores the world of Facebook and how your data is being mined to drive the huge success of the social media giant.

“Facebook’s very well aware of our sentiment, our mood…it can put all that data together and start to understand who our ex’s are, who our friends are, who our old friends are, who our new friends are, and that’s how it really works.” Marketing executive

Reporter Peter Greste examines the Facebook business model and shows why your private life is making them billions.

“Facebook has very cleverly figured out how to wrap itself around our lives. It’s the family album. It’s your messaging to your friends. It’s your daily diary. It’s your contact list. It’s all these things wrapped around your life.” Digital privacy expert

The program investigates how Facebook has the ability to track much of your browsing history, even when you’re not logged on, and even if you aren’t a member of the social network at all.

“Even if you close your account, even if you log out of all of your services, the way that they’re set up, with their sharing buttons, they’re still going to be able to build a profile for you. It’s very difficult to opt out of Facebook’s reach.” IT security consultant

And shows how the methods used to deliver targeted advertising also drives what ‘news’ appears in your Facebook feed, and why you are unlikely to see anything that challenges your world view. This feedback loop is fuelling the rise and power of “fake news”.

“We’re seeing news that’s tailored ever more tightly towards those kinds of things that people will click on, and will share, rather than things that perhaps are necessarily good for them.” Media analyst

With more than 16 million Australian Facebook accounts, joining more than a billion other users, Four Corners investigates how much we are giving up to be part of the social network.

“If somebody was going to build a dossier on me based on what Facebook knows about me, what would it look like? I should be able to know that so that I can make informed decisions at how I’m going to use the platform.” Internet privacy advocate

Cracking the Code, reported by Peter Greste and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 10th April at 8.30pm EDT. It is replayed on Tuesday 11th April at 10.00am and Wednesday 12th at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.


#64

###Panama Papers Collaboration wins Pulitzer Prize

Columbia University today announced that the Panama Papers investigative collaboration has won the 2017 Pulitzer prize for “a distinguished example of explanatory reporting that illuminates a significant and complex subject”.

The Pulitzer Prize Board praised the year-long investigation for “using a collaboration of more than 300 reporters on six continents to expose the hidden infrastructure and global scale of offshore tax havens.”

The ABC’s Four Corners program was a partner in this investigation, and worked closely with ABC News’ National Reporting Team and ABC News Online to bring the story to the Australian audience.

Executive Producer Sally Neighbour said: “Four Corners was proud and privileged to be a part of this landmark international investigative project. We would like to thank the ICIJ and Süddeutsche Zeitung for inviting us to join their collaboration.”


#65

###Syria’s Disappeared

Monday 24 April 8.30pm

Syria’s Disappeared: The Case Against Assad

The images of Syrian men, women and children killed in a chemical gas attack in April appalled the world, and led the United States to unleash an air strike on the Syrian regime. But as shocking as the use of these weapons is, it was just the latest act of brutality rained down on the citizens of Syria by the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

“Too many people have been physically abused, too many people have been psychologically abused, too many people have died in detention of unnatural causes to say that there’s anything else but a widespread and indeed systematic practice of abuse.” War Crimes Investigator

Now, international pressure is rising for Assad and his regime to be held to account for years of atrocities. In a secret location in Europe, war crimes investigators have been building a criminal case against the Syrian regime.

“We’re trying to lay the foundations for a prosecution along the Nuremberg lines, where prosecutors can lead with heavy, heavy irrefutable documentary material.” War Crimes Investigator

Using a cache of more than 600-thousand smuggled documents, investigators have been piecing together evidence of what has happened to the thousands of Syrians who have been killed, tortured or “disappeared” at the hands of the Assad government.

“We didn’t set out to build a case against President Assad or any other individual, we went where the documents took us.” War Crimes Investigator

Investigators have amassed a vast trove of evidence, including thousands of photographs smuggled out by a regime defector.

“They were actually numbering, indexing, photographing, building files on the people they tortured to death in total violation of international law, of their own laws, and were keeping meticulous records of it.” Former US Ambassador

The investigators have also interviewed hundreds of people whose names appear on arrest lists and interrogation notes, along with survivors, former prisoners and family members of Assad’s victims, who say they want the perpetrators brought before a court.

“I will not rest until I take them to court and get justice. Justice for me and my friends who they killed. Even if it costs me my life. I will pursue them and I will bring them to justice no matter what.” Former Prisoner

Now, the war crimes investigators believe they have the evidence needed.

“We’re talking about the security services, we’re talking about state security, we’re talking about military security, we’re talking about Air Force Intelligence, within the chain of command, official forces… This is the clearest case that I’ve ever seen.” Former US Ambassador

This powerful film shines a light on the barbarism of the Syrian regime at a time when the future of President Assad is being argued over by the world’s most powerful nations.

The film’s directors Sara Afshar & Nicola Cutcher are available for interview from the UK. Pre-recorded interviews are possible.

The Case Against Assad, a Channel 4 film directed by Sara Afshar & Nicola Cutcher and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 24th April at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 25th April at 10.00am and Wednesday 26th at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.


#66

###After the Game

Monday 1 May at 8.30pm

After the Game: Elite athletes blow the whistle on the high price paid for sporting glory.

“You literally go from the very peak of your career, being the best at something, to dirt.” Former Olympian & Commonwealth Gold Medallist

On Monday night, Australian sporting champions reveal their struggles to restart their lives after their elite sporting careers have ended.

“It’s a cut-throat industry, professional sports…A lot of people forget we’re still human beings.” Former Essendon AFL Player

Their accounts are raw, deeply personal and in some cases, shocking.

“I felt like I was a failure again. That I couldn’t achieve anything. I couldn’t do basic things.” Former Test Cricket Player

One elite swimmer tells of how she went from being ranked number one in the world to queuing for the dole.

“I applied for pretty much every job under the sun. I applied for packing shelves in shopping centres and the comment is: ‘oh what do you need a job for?’” Former Olympian & Commonwealth Gold Medallist

A world class superstar reveals their fight to overcome a dependence on prescription drugs used to numb the pain caused by injury.

“Having to get off everything was really, really, really hard.” Former Elite Athlete

One former cricket star explains how he went from living the dream life to his current job as a road surfacer.

“There’s no system set up in place to take care of players that have career-ending injuries. It’s short and sharp – ‘see you later, thanks for coming’.” Former Cricket Player

All describe the mental anguish they’ve been through as they grappled with finding a place in the real world.

“The perception in my mind was everything will be downhill from here. I’ve just reached the pinnacle. This is my lifelong dream. So is everything else from here downhill?” Olympic Gold Medallist

Former Wallaby Dan Vickerman took his own life in February, devastating those around him. In moving interviews his former teammates reflect on the challenges of life after sport and the painful soul searching they’ve been through in the months since his death.

These elite athletes are urging sporting bodies to do more to prepare sports men and women for life after their careers have ended.

“Athletes are competing for maybe ten years, if they’re lucky. Ten years out of an 80 year life. At the moment, that ten years, for a lot of people, it’s destroying the rest of their lives. It’s destroying the next sixty.” Former Olympian

After the Game, reported by Louise Milligan and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday May 1 at 8.30pm on ABC & ABC iview. It is replayed on Tuesday May 2 at 10.00am and Wednesday May 11 at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.


#67

###Power Failure

Monday 8 May at 8.30pm

Power Failure: Why Australia is being left in the dark.

“It is remarkable how much we have stuffed up energy policy in this country.” Mining lobbyist

On Monday night Four Corners investigates how a nation as rich as Australia is in coal, gas, sunshine and wind, has found itself in the middle of an energy crisis.

“We’ve had a catastrophic failure of national policy making.” Industry Lobbyist

For a decade, the politicisation of energy policy has divided the major political parties and brought down their leaders.

“We’ve had a series of disasters, bad political decisions to end up where we are.” Energy Analyst

The result is an uncertain energy future and soaring power bills.

“We’ll pay about $750,000 this financial year, and next financial year we’re looking at about a $1.2 million gas bill…It’s an uncontrolled and sudden shock to our business.” Manufacturer

On the eve of the Federal Budget, the program charts how short term politics has repeatedly overridden the national interest.

“Blind Freddie could have seen this coming. Only those who are neglectful or deceitful or didn’t want to face this problem, wouldn’t have known this was coming.” Industry Lobbyist

Four Corners has travelled across the nation to see how the lack of affordable and reliable power is driving some businesses to the wall, others are going offshore.

“We’re the lucky country but at the moment it seems that we’re giving away most or all of our competitive advantages.” Manufacturer

And with experts forecasting that winter will bring even higher power bills as well as blackouts next summer, there are calls to end the politicking and for real action to be taken.

“Everyone keeps blaming everyone else and I would love as a consumer of electricity, I’d love both sides of government to come out and just find a solution.” Business Owner

Power Failure, reported by Michael Brissenden and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 8th May at 8.30pm on ABC & ABC iview. It is replayed on Tuesday 9th May at 10am and Wednesday 10th at 11pm. It can also be seen on the ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.00pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.


#68

###Gun Runners

Monday 15 May at 8.30pm

Gun Runners: The smuggling syndicate that shocked Australian law enforcement.

“I think it was unprecedented…it was probably the major investigation in Australia at that time.” - Detective, Organised Crime Squad

It was one of the biggest illegal firearms busts in Australian history. A criminal syndicate brazenly smuggling weapons into the country, exposing the failings in the nation’s border security.

“It was exceptionally serious and viewed that way.” Detective, Organised Crime Squad

The audacious but simple smuggling conspiracy caught law enforcement off guard and forced a major rethink in how to counteract illegal gun importations.

“How can a large number of Glock semi-automatic pistols…end up in Australia? That’s the wake up call.” Criminal Intelligence Officer

While the smugglers were stopped, the majority of the weapons they brought in have never been recovered, leaving them in the hands of criminals or even would be terrorists.

“Think of how much crime that gun could be connected to in a hundred years. Times that by hundreds of handguns. Its staggering to think what sort of problem that could be faced by law enforcement.” Detective, Organised Crime Squad

Through surveillance videos, phone intercepts and interviews with the investigating officers, Four Corners pieces together the smuggling operation and the police sting that eventually stopped them.

“You’ve got to get rid of it. Did you sign for it?” Gun smuggler caught on surveillance

With the jailing of the group’s ringleader, the story of how this group smuggled weapons into the country, fuelling drive by shootings and gang violence, can now be told.

“They’ve been used in public place shootings…we’ve found that certain guns have been used in armed robberies and the great majority of them have been held in the hands of organised crime figures.” Detective, Police Firearms Squad

Gun Runners, reported by Ben Knight and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 15th May at 8.30pm on ABC & ABC iview. It is replayed on Tuesday 16th May at 10.00am and Wednesday 17th at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.00pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.


#69

###The Lindt Cafe Siege

Monday 22 & 29 May at 8.30pm

A Four Corners special two-part investigation by Sarah Ferguson airing Monday May 22 & 29 at 8.30pm on ABC & ABC iview

On Monday May 22 Four Corners will present the first episode in a two-part special investigation into the Lindt Cafe siege.

Sarah Ferguson talks exclusively with the families of Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson about their experience on the day and their devastation, anger and frustrations in the aftermath of the siege.

Surviving hostages recount their terrifying ordeal as they waited, hour after hour, for the police to arrive.

The program examines how authorities over several years failed to comprehend the risk posed by hostage taker Man Haron Monis.

Part two of the investigation will take you inside the Lindt Cafe and the police operation on the day, and bring you a forensic examination of how the disaster unfolded.

This special investigation exposes what went wrong and questions whether Australia is prepared for another terror attack.

The NSW Coroner will deliver his findings on the siege on Wednesday May 24.

Part One of The Lindt Cafe Siege, reported and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 22nd May at 8.30pm on ABC & ABC iview. It is replayed on Tuesday 23rd May at 10.00am and Wednesday 24th at 11pm. It can also be seen on the ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.00pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.


#70

###The Siege: Part Two

Tuesday, 23 May at 8.30pm

The second part of a Four Corners special investigation by Sarah Ferguson airs Monday May 29 at 8.30pm on ABC & ABC iview

A Four Corners special investigation

On Monday May 29 Four Corners will bring you the second part of its special investigation into the Lindt Cafe siege.

“Gunfire from everywhere (it) just seemed like all over the room” Siege survivor

The program will take you inside the Lindt Cafe and the police operation as it dragged on into the night, and present a forensic examination of how the disaster unfolded.

“I don’t understand anything of what the police decided to do or not do.” Family member

The families of hostages Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson tell of their experiences during the siege as they watched and waited nearby.

“I knew he was in trouble. I knew he was in great danger.” Family member

They recount their fleeting communications with their loved ones through heartbreaking phone calls and text messages from inside the cafe.

“I wanted to be there with him. You know, I just wanted to put my arms around him and whatever was going to happen, I wanted to be there with him.” Family member

In interviews with the surviving hostages, reporter Sarah Ferguson examines the opportunities missed in the course of the siege.

“I thought, great, he’s sitting by himself in a corner. This is the time the police are gonna go in and I was sure it was gonna be the end of it.” Siege survivor

And as the Coroner makes his findings, the families left behind reflect on the gruelling 18 months of hearings and the evidence presented during the inquest.

“What I said in the beginning, was that we weren’t after retribution. But what we did want desperately was for them to have the courage to tell the truth.” Family member

In a Four Corners exclusive, the families of Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson will talk to Sarah Ferguson in the days following the Inquest findings.

The Siege, reported and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 29th May at 8.30pm on ABC & ABC iview. It is replayed on Tuesday 30th May at 10.00am and Wednesday 31st at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.00pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.


#71

###Power and Influence

HOW CHINA’S COMMUNIST PARTY IS INFILTRATING AUSTRALIA

Monday 5 June 2017

Power and Influence: The hard edge of China’s soft power

“They want to influence Australia. They want a stronger presence in Australia.”

It’s a tale of secrets, power and intimidation.

“ASIO are really quite alive and alert to these issues…of Australian national security.”

China is our most important trading partner, making a strong relationship vital to Australia’s national interest. But there are growing concerns about covert Chinese actions taking place on Australian soil.

“Every government has an interest in promoting itself abroad to extending its soft power, I guess what’s different about China is the way in which its run through these clandestine operations.”

Five months in the making, this joint Four Corners/Fairfax Media investigation uncovers how China’s Communist Party is secretly infiltrating Australia.

The investigation tracks the activities of Beijing-backed organisations and the efforts made to intimidate opponents of the Chinese Communist party.

“The way the Chinese Government operates is effectively to control and silence dissent.”

And investigates the influence of individuals who have access to political and business leaders.

“Even if they’re not receiving any kind of direction, they would feel some sense of obligation, or indeed make the right impression on the powers that be in China, to demonstrate that they’re being good members of the party, that they’re pursuing the party’s interests.”

The findings will be released in a series of stories through Fairfax Media and ABC platforms, reported by Fairfax’s Nick McKenzie and the ABC’s Chris Uhlmann, culminating in the Four Corners broadcast on Monday night, detailing the full revelations.

Power and Influence, reported by Nick McKenzie and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 5th June at 8.30pm EDT. It is replayed on Tuesday 6th June at 10.00am and Wednesday 7th at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.00pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.


#72

This is a very delicate issue, definitely must watch for every Chinese living in Australia.
The timing of this episode and associated reports (the 28th anniversary of Tiananmen Massacre on June 4, 1989) will provoke outrage both here in Australia and China. No doubt the Chinese Embassy and many local Chinese organizations (which support the Chinese Government) will react angrily to even a slight mention of influence, without even watching and digesting it. It will be interesting to see the repercussions. Will there be a diplomatic protest? Will the ABC and Fairfax correspondents be expelled from China because of the reports? Will ABC’s overseas TV service Australia Plus be banned from China?


#73

Surely this isn’t the first time these sorts of issues have been reported or discussed about the Chinese government.


#74

###Breaking the Brotherhood

Monday 12 June at 8.30pm

Breaking the Brotherhood: The brave few who blew the whistle on Australia’s most corrupt police force.

“‘Break his camera and break his mouth too!’ was the order.” Chris Masters ‘The Moonlight State’ (1987)

It was Queensland, the year was 1987, and the State’s police force was riddled with corruption. The brotherhood of crooked cops who gave the green light to illegal gambling and prostitution believed they were untouchable.

“The level and systemic nature of it, reaching to all levels, including the highest political levels, was truly a shock to me.” Leading Criminal Investigator

There was a conspiracy of silence, from within the Queensland Government and all the way up to the highest levels of the force. The nature and the extent of the corruption sickened the honest cops, who operated in a world where they could trust no-one.

“There were times that I actually feared for my life and for the life of my family. It was clear to me that we had institutionalised corruption taking place.” Undercover Operative

A small band of brave crime fighters, and their families, took the enormous risk to trust a journalist with the State’s darkest secrets. The result was ‘The Moonlight State’, perhaps the most explosive true story ever told on Australian television.

“There is another side to the Sunshine State. Despite some wholesome attempts to pretend otherwise, the Queensland Government has not managed to stop the devil at the border. In the Sunshine State, sex is a great little earner.” Chris Masters ‘The Moonlight State’ (1987)

Chris Masters’ landmark report prompted one of the most important anti-corruption investigations in Australian history, the Fitzgerald Inquiry, which led to the jailing of the Queensland Police Commissioner.

But the whole story of how the whistle was blown has never fully been told. Now the key players who put their trust in Chris Masters have come forward to tell their story, on camera, for the first time.

“I’m sitting there with my wife at home, because I knew when it was going to air, and I’m watching it. And I had this silly grin on my face, but it was also teary because we actually made it, we survived. The story got to air.” Whistleblower

“I believe that fate brought (us) together and that something had to be done.” Undercover Operative

The program also reveals the shocking lengths corrupt police went to, to try to silence the whistleblowers, and reporter Chris Masters

“My son had been walking home from school and a car had pulled up beside him and told him that his father was going to be killed.” Undercover Police Officer

“Things got very scary, and a very powerful syndicate of organised criminals and corrupt police realised that they had an illicit empire to protect and they started to play nasty.” Chris Masters

Thirty years on from ‘The Moonlight State’, leading law enforcement figures warn that every police force today must remember the lessons of those dark days so they can never be repeated.

Breaking the Brotherhood, reported by Mark Willacy and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 12th June at 8.30pm on ABC & ABC iview. It is replayed on Tuesday 13th June at 10.00am and Wednesday 14th at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.00pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.


#75

###Rise of the Trolls

Monday 19 June 2017

Rise of the Trolls: The dark side of the internet.

“They do it because they want to get a reaction. They want to see me lash out and it all feeds into this sick and twisted entertainment value to them.” Blogger

The digital revolution has transformed our world. Never in human history have we been more connected to each other in ways that would have seemed unimaginable only a decade ago. But with the rise of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and a smartphone in virtually every pocket, the internet bullies known as trolls are only ever a click, tap or swipe away.

“We want to make them cry. We love to make them cry.” Troll

Instead of bringing people together, trolls use the internet to target those they disagree with by provoking, harassing and threatening them.

“It may be that the internet has unleashed a kind of dark demon, within millions of people out there in the general public.” Psychiatrist

On Monday night Four Corners takes you into the dark side of the internet to explore the rise of cyber trolls.

“They send things to my home. It terrifies me to think what they could do, if they wanted to, knowing exactly where I live, knowing where my children go to school.” Blogger

Many trolls go to great lengths to try and hide their identity and as the program explores, psychiatrists believe this is helping to propel the appalling behaviour.

“Anonymity seems to be a very important factor on the internet, in that it seems to make people less inhibited about doing nasty things.” Psychiatrist

One self-proclaimed hard core troll outlines the trolling landscape and boasts about his extensive conquests, all while hiding behind a cloak of anonymity.

“I’ve been associated with all kinds of organised trolling groups…The Internet presented something that was never available to us before.” Troll

And some of the trolls are not who you’d expect.

“The trolls and the really dangerous people that I attract are, themselves, mothers and have small children at home.” Blogger

We meet Britain’s most notorious troll, jailed for sending threatening tweets, and a campaigner in Canada as he goes on trial after a confrontation on Twitter.

“If you’re hurt, if the truth hurts you, it’s not my problem, because I’m just telling the truth.” Canadian Activist

The prosecution of trolls raises uncomfortable questions about how far our commitment to freedom of expression goes. Activists are warning of an Orwellian future of thought police.

“Trolling is a free speech issue and if you aren’t free to hate someone then you’re not free… If we are serious about freedom of speech, then we have to allow people to say hateful, obnoxious, racist, sexist things.” Magazine Editor

RISE OF THE TROLLS, from Canadian film-maker John Baltrusaitis and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 19th June at 8.30pm EDT. It is replayed on Tuesday 20th June at 10.00am and Wednesday 21st at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.00pm AEST, and on ABC iview.


#76

###Bleed Them Dry Until They Die

Monday 26 June 2017 at 8:30pm AEST

Bleed Them Dry Until They Die: The retirement villages ripping off retirees.

“It’s a financial trap. It’s a financial sinkhole. Once you’re in, it’s very hard to get out.” Former Resident

The glossy brochures and slick advertising sell the promise of a blissful retirement in “enclaves of contentedness” where “lifestyle meets wellbeing.” But residents of the retirement homes run by one of Australia’s biggest providers have a very different story to tell.

“If there’s any way that can more quickly separate a person in a retirement village from their money, I don’t know it.” Former Resident

These retirement villages are marketed as a way for older Australians to keep their independence without the burden of maintaining a property. They can relax, secure in the knowledge that they have someone to call on if they need help. What many residents don’t realise, until it’s too late, is the astronomical amount they will have to pay for the privilege.

“It’s clearly designed to suck as much profit from the individual investors as it possibly can. I do think it’s outrageous. I think it’s extortionate. I think it’s exploitative.” Former Resident

On Monday night, in a joint Four Corners/Fairfax Media investigation, reporter Adele Ferguson examines the ruthless tactics that residents say put profits before people.

“It’s completely biased in favour of the operators. You feel you haven’t got a chance to defend your home against the rapacity of the huge corporation, who will always win because they can afford the legal costs involved.” Former Resident

Residents say they’ve been patronised, marginalised and ripped off. Now they want to warn others.

“It was like living in a grubby fairy tale.” Resident

The findings of this joint investigation will be revealed in a series of online articles published by ABC News Online and Fairfax culminating in the Four Corners broadcast on Monday night.

Bleed Them Dry Until They Die, reported by Adele Ferguson and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 26th June at 8.30pm EDT. It is replayed on Tuesday 27th June at 10.00am and Wednesday 28th at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.00pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corn


#77

###The Company He Keeps: Unearthing Trump’s business deals on our doorstep

Monday 3 July at 8.30pm

“Do they like me in Indonesia?” Donald Trump

It was one of the more bizarre moments of the Trump presidential campaign. At a press conference at Trump Tower in New York to declare his loyalty to the Republican Party, Donald Trump was flanked by guests from Indonesia, and made a big show of announcing one very special guest.

“Hey, Ladies and Gentlemen, this is a very - an amazing man. He is, as you know, Speaker of the House of Indonesia. He’s here to see me.” Donald Trump

It was unclear why the Indonesians were there, or why Mr Trump was making such a fuss of them.

Now a Four Corners investigation will reveal how Donald Trump, as he was closing in on his political rivals, was negotiating luxury resort deals in Bali and Java, raising serious questions about Presidential conflicts of interest.

“The project is going to be a huge one, a mega project.” Landowner

In Bali, plans are under way to Trumpify one of the most iconic and sacred sites in Bali – Tanah Lot. But curiously, for a tourist destination usually keen to talk up what the island paradise has to offer, government officials are not keen to talk about the proposed Trump Tower development.

“I can’t talk about this. I cannot talk about this.” Balinese government official

In a second development on Java, the deal to build a massive gaudy theme park and resort development has been inked, leaving local farmers frightened of what the future holds.

“When the financial power of Trump comes here, we the original people who live here are powerless. Their enormous wealth buys enormous influence.”

Four Corners investigates how these deals were done through an unholy alliance formed between Donald Trump and controversial business and political figures in Indonesia.

Trump’s business partners have a troubling history with ties to the corrupt Suharto regime.

While at home in the United States, President Trump rails against Islamic extremism. In Indonesia, he has formed political alliances with politicians aligned with Islamist forces.

“He is dealing with the worst of Indonesia’s past, and he is going to deal with the worst of Indonesia’s future, the Islamists. I think Donald Trump is going to get his businesses messier and also Indonesia messier.” Human Rights Investigator.

The Company He Keeps, reported by Mark Davis and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 3rd July at 8.30pm EDT. It is replayed on Tuesday 4th July at 10.00am and Wednesday 5th at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.00pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.


#78

For two weeks in a row Aveo put up full page ads in News Corp papers rebutting allegations made by Four Corners and Fairfax. The company’s viewpoint appeared last Wednesday, today it was its residents’ turn. But I am not sure if their statements were made voluntarily or under duress.


#79

I’m just imagining a man in a suit pointing a gun at a granny.

“I won’t ask nicely again Agnes. Write. The. Testimony.”


#80

###Pumped

Monday 24 July

“People are profiteering…It’s the biggest water grab in Australia’s history.” Grazier

In Australia’s most important river system, the water is so precious, it could be liquid gold.

“People want to get water in their hands because if you get water in your hands that’s big money.” Grazier

Stretching from Queensland to South Australia, billions of dollars in taxpayer’s money has been poured into rescuing the rivers and streams of the Murray-Darling Basin to save it from environmental collapse. But nearly five years on from a landmark agreement to restore the river, something is wrong.

“People are beyond angry. I think they’re dismayed. People are very distressed.” Former Murray-Darling Basin Authority official

Along the river system many are saying despite all the promises, water is disappearing from the river.

“We don’t know where that water’s going, and we don’t know what’s happening to that water. It just seems bizarre, and particularly when there are so many major players that are potentially exploiting the system.” Ecologist

On Monday night Four Corners will reveal how the plan to rescue the Murray-Darling Basin river system is being undermined.

“We put up with droughts for hundreds of years. That’s just life living here, but that’s not what happened.” Grazier

Reporter Linton Besser investigates where the money, and the water is going.

“A lot of people take it for granted, like flushing the toilet…I just hope that people with the most money aren’t the people that are getting all the say.” Mayor

He finds communities divided.

“I think for anyone that lives on a river, they know the argument about the people upstream are always the greedy buggers taking all the water, and the people downstream are the people - that you might seek to ignore - who are wasting water. I don’t say that.” Irrigator Lobbyist

With many wondering how they will survive.

“What’s going to happen to the rest of us who are trying to just have a shower, brush our teeth and let our sheep and cattle have a drink of water when you’re standing on the riverbank and all you can see is a puddle of water, but you know that people upstream have huge amounts of water?” Grazier

And questions whether the billions in tax payer’s money has been well spent.

“We all hoped because of the state of the Murray-Darling Basin that the basin plan would essentially take this patient, which was essentially in the intensive care unit, out of the intensive care unit and be able to make it walk again. But essentially the basin plan is not working the way it was meant to work.” Ecologist

Pumped, reported by Linton Besser and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 24th July at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 25th July at 10.00am and Wednesday 26th at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.00pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.